forgivenessPsalm 32:1-5 – “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2  Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.
3  When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
4  For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
5  I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”

prodigal sonThe parable of the prodigal son and his return to the arms of his loving father is perhaps the most beloved of Jesus’ parables in the Gospels (Luke 15:11-32).  That story not only mirrors the hope of every father and mother whose son or daughter has taken a path of sin far from home, but also the love and grace of God the Father for a saint who strays from the LORD.  It is the story of a son’s return from the miserable path of sin to the joy of forgiveness; from the travail of sin and guilt to the joy of grace and restoration.  David’s testimony in Psalm 32 echoes the joy of every saint who has found the open arms of the Father when he turned from sin and came home to the LORD.  Of such a man, David writes:

Psalm 32:1 – “Blessed [happy; favored] is he whose transgression [sin; trespass] is forgiven [removed; lift; carried away], whose sin is covered [hide; conceal].”

Blessed”, happy, joyful is the saint who has transgressed God’s law, crossed the line and found God’s grace and forgiveness.  Blessed is the man who missed the mark (Romans 3:23), but whose sin is covered by the blood of Christ and made invisible to God (Romans 3:24; 6:23).

Psalm 32:2 – “Blessed [happy; favored] is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth [count; reckon; devise] not iniquity [sin; fault], and in whose spirit [breath; temper; mind] there is no guile [deceit; treachery].

Blessed”, happy, joyful is the saint whose debt of sin is reckoned and accounted by God “paid in full” because his spirit and attitude concerning his sin is humble, honest and without guile before God.

Psalm 32:3-4 records David’s own testimony and suffering for the consequences of sins and his vain attempt to conceal them. guilty

Psalm 32:3-4 – “When I kept silence [peace; speechless], my bones [body; life] waxed old [spent; wear out; consumed] through my roaring [rumbling; moaning; cries] all the day long. 4  For day and night thy hand [arm; rule] was heavy [made heavy; grievous; burden-some] upon me: my moisture [vitality] is turned [overthrown; changed] into the drought [heat] of summer [harvest]. Selah. [pause; i.e. suspend music]

The king had endured the awful guilt of his sins for a year before the prophet Nathan confronted him (2 Samuel 12).  David was guilty; guilty of adultery with Bathsheba; guilty of engineering the murder of her husband Uriah and guilty of deceit in a futile effort to conceal his sins.

The king had been silent; unwilling to confess his sin, his life consumed with guilt as his conscience roared against him day and night (32:3).  The heaviness of God’s hand and the inescapable reality of His justice pressed on the king day and night.  Unwilling to confess his sin and repent, David felt his strength and vitality drying up like water consumed in the heat of a summer drought.

Allow this shepherd to make an observation of some church members I have witnessed over 36 years of ministry.   I have known many “David’s” who are habitual “hit and run” Christians.  Too many who sin against a spouse, family, friend, pastor or church and act repentanceoblivious to the sins they have committed and the sorrows they have inflicted.  Too many who appear to have seared consciences regarding the wickedness of their gossip, lies and disloyalty; too many who break vows and promises and, like David, move on to other churches and ministries leaving in their wake lives and ministries scarred by their sin.  David described the egregious effects of failing to confess and repent of sin.  No doubt there and some reading this devotion who have borne the consequences of sin so long you are desensitized to what it has done to you and those you offended.

There is a “path out”, a way for the burden and guilt of sin to be lifted; however, it will cost you your pride, but its reward is like fresh water to a thirsty soul.

Psalm 32:5 – “I acknowledged [know; perceive; understand] my sin [offence; guilt; punishment] unto thee, and mine iniquity [sin; fault] have I not hid [cover; conceal]. I said [answered; promised], I will confess [make confession] my transgressions [trespass; sin] unto the LORD; and thou forgavest [take away; remove] the iniquity [sin; fault] of my sin [offence; guilt; punishment]. Selah.”

There is one solution to sin and that is honest confession and sincere repentance.  No more excuses; no more blame shifting; David said, I am guilty.  I know my offence and will no longer conceal it (32:5a).  The king confessed his sins… adultery, murder, deceit; but oh the joy of God’s response to his confession: Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (32:5b).scapegoat

Forgiven”, what a wonderful, promising truth!  More than the absolution of guilt; it is the response to one who acknowledges the guilt of sin and another who lifts that burden, taking away the sin and the guilt.  Forgiveness is illustrated by the “scapegoat” sent out of the camp of Israel on the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16:15-22.  The priest would sacrifice a goat, confessing the sins of the nation (Leviticus 16:15-19) and, after sprinkling the blood of that sacrifice on the altar, symbolically place his blood stained hands on a living goat, confessing the sins of the nation (Leviticus 16:20-22) and then sending the “scapegoat” out of the camp symbolically carrying away the sins of the people from the nation.

Leviticus 16:20-22 – “And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: 21  And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: 22  And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.”

crossSending the “scapegoat” out of the camp was an illustration, a living symbol of God’s promise to forgive the nation’s sins.   Of course, every Old Testament sacrifice was a type, a picture of the ultimate sacrifice for man’s sin, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Isaiah 53:4-6 – “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

There are many reading today’s devotional who believe Christ died for their  sins.  I remind you what David confessed; forgiveness of sin is possible only if “there is no guile” (32:2, 5).  Genuine repentance demands an honest, transparent confession of one’s sin.

The guilt of unconfessed sin is an awful cancer to the soul!  How honest are you about your sins, past and present?

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith